A Nokia logo is seen at the company's headquarters in Espoo, Finland, May 5, 2017. HELSINKI (Reuters) - Nokia plans to reduce up to 310 jobs from its Nokia Technologies unit and halt development of its virtual reality camera "OZO" and hardware, the Finnish company said on Tuesday. The unit has about 1,090 employees and the potential cuts are expected to affect staff in Finland, the United States and Britain. Nokia employed about 102,000 employees as of end-June. The unit will continue to focus on digital health and patent and brand licensing business, Nokia said.
I crouch down next to its hood to admire its shape, and as the paint twinkles, a word etched faintly on the tire catches my eye. Each letter pristine, unbroken, like the tire's never seen a mile of road, like it's been airlifted from some secret factory. It's not like anything I've seen before--and certainly not in a VR headset, where print legibility goes to die. The first time I saw the Helsinki company's prototype headset, nearly two years ago, it was little more than a kludge: an Oculus Rift that Varjo had rigged to project an ultra-high-resolution micro display into the center of my field of view. Rift or no Rift, it was the most stunning clarity I'd ever seen.
Varjo's CEO and co-founder Urho Konttori shows how the prototype headsets capture even the tiniest objects in the airplane cockpit. The next giant step in VR and augmented reality may not come from Facebook, Google or Microsoft. It might just emerge from Varjo Technologies, a tiny startup in Helsinki. This article appeared in the August 2017 issue of Forbes Finland. Until this summer, Varjo Technologies was true to its intriguing name (varjo means "shadow" in Finnish)--in serious stealth mode.
Nokia has revealed plans to axe hundreds of employees to reshape the company's business strategy towards digital healthcare, patents, and virtual reality. On Tuesday, the Helsinki, Finland-based firm said up to 310 out of roughly 1090 employees in Nokia Technologies will be impacted, and staff levels will be reduced mainly in Finland, the US, and the UK. However, negotiations on reducing staff numbers and costs must start the process, and so talks will soon begin in Finland. In order to justify the cuts, the electronics giant says that changes have to be made to "sharpen the focus of Nokia Technologies on digital health, and accelerate growth in that market." Nokia also wants to "optimise" investment in virtual reality (VR), however, not necessarily by creating VR products itself.
The city of Helsinki has been virtually mapped for AR/VR applications for the first time. The project is a partnership between the City of Helsinki and Umbra, a platform that optimizes large visual datasets for streaming over mobile, a challenge that's going to be increasingly vital with the anticipated rise of Augmented Reality applications. The Helsinki model was created from aerial photographs that date from 2015. The resulting texture-mapped 3D mesh accounts for more than 30 square miles of the city. Why go to the trouble of making a virtual map of a city when a satellite can easily snap photos?